Dystonia

Dystonia is a generic neurological movement disorder. It causes uncontrollable twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures due to sustained muscle contractions. Dystonia may be hereditary, or caused by other factors, such as birth-related, or reactions to pharmaceutical drugs (especially the neuroleptics), or other physical events, such as trauma, infection, or toxicities.

Symptoms can be severe or mild, and the performance of many day-to-day tasks may be compormised. Symptoms and signs may present as following:

-A distorted posture or appearance caused by involuntary muscle contractions.

-May begin with a single region, such as face, hand, or foot.

-Occurs during a specific action. For instance, patient may undergo involuntary contractions in one leg while walking forward, but not while running forward or walking backward.

-Fatigue, stress, or anxiety worsens the symptoms.

-Symptoms may progress, and then plateau for years, or stop progressing entirely.

Recently, treatment of dystonia had been improved. Available treatments include:

  • Medications
  • Sensory stimulation
  • Botulinum (‘Botox’)
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Surgery (recommended only in certain types of dystonia as a last resort)
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